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JCPC wants Agus-Pulangi hydro plants privatized soon

MANILA, Philippines - The Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) has ordered Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) to fast-track the study aimed to determine the best way to privatize the government-run 982-megawatt Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric power plants (HEPP) in Mindanao.

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) party list Rep. Jericho Morales told PSALM in a recent JCPC hearing it should submit a report on the privatization options for the Agus-Pulangi HEPP.

He raised JCPC’s need to know privatization plans for the Mindanao power asset.

The feasibility study will be critical in JCPC’s recommendation on how the facility will be privatized, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said in an interview.

“On the mode (of privatization), it will be PSALM (who has the final say). Under the law, they have to consult Congress,” he said.

“It’s hard to make a decision, recommendation if we haven’t seen the financials,” Gatchalian said.

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The senator said the financial health of the company and its receivables are major decision-making points for the Agus-Pulangi HEPP.

Under Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, the hydropower complex should be privatized 10 years after the passage of the law. JCPC, as the oversight committee, will have to set the directions for the power facilities.

For its part, PSALM OIC Lourdes Alzona said the state-run firm is eyeing to finish the study next month.

“PSALM is currently studying privatization plans which being done with IFC (International Finance Corp.). We had kick-off meeting last December 2016. It was supposed to be submitted January 2017 but because of different data, they asked for extension (to complete the study) in March 2017,” she said during the hearing.

As soon as the study is finished, PSALM will submit it to the Department of Energy for discussion, and then to JCPC.

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